| 2020 | 16:30
Housing Construction in East Jerusalem
- In Hebrew
- In Hebrew
This event took place as part of the East Jerusalem Forum:
Housing Construction in East Jerusalem
The meeting dealt with one of the most complex, difficult and painful issues in East Jerusalem: Planning residential housing and the related issues arising, which include:
- The lack of a land parcellation agreement regarding most plots in East Jerusalem
- The issue of proof of ownership (the role of mukhtars, or village chiefs, the “Barkat Procedure” for ownership proving, etc.)
- The promotion of Local outline plans (including the problem of plans becoming obsolete due to the lengthy procedures needed to prepare and approve them)
- The preparation of master-plans (even though these have no statutory standing, they do function as planning guidelines)
- The preparation and approval of local plans, lacking a broader perspective and prepared without taking into account a wider planning context
- The problem of allocating land for public institutions and public areas
- How can we involve local residents and different communities in the planning procedures? How can we overcome the lack of representation of East Jerusalem residents, and help create communities with which we can work?
- What processes should be implemented to reach an agreement and understanding among local residents, regarding the clash of economically powerful real-estate interests?
- How can we overcome the issue of local residents’ distrust in Israeli authorities and their intentions?
- And what about the difficulties in approving outline- and master-plans in both local and regional planning committees (politicians’ influence at both the local and national level, approval by the Minister of Interior, issues of demographic balance in Jerusalem, and so on).
In addition to discussing the many constraints and difficulties, the discussion focused on floating new innovative and creative ideas to deal with the growing shortage of housing.
The participants (Presentations in Hebrew below):
Ofer Greidinger, Director, Urban Planning Department, Jerusalem Municipality
Greidinger outlined the prevailing planning status for residential housing in East Jerusalem: a relatively large number of local specific programs have been approved, but there are still considerable difficulties in overall planning and in the approval of master- and outline-plans. Greidinger suggested considering not only solving the ongoing issue of building without permits, perpetuating the current planning chaos, but also preparing plans, in collaboration with local residents, for rehousing residents to allow the subsequent redevelopment of their houses.
Marianna Sigalov Klein, Head of Policy, Urban Planning Department, Jerusalem Municipality
Sigalov Klein discussed the subject of planning public buildings and open spaces. She stressed the municipality’s many planning activities in this field, and stated that she believes these will bear fruit in the years to come and thereby influence the overall development of East Jerusalem.
Arch. Efrat Cohen-Bar, Deputy Director – Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights
Cohen-Bar described the significant shortage relating to residential housing in East Jerusalem, and the huge gap between programs approved in principle and the actual ability of a local resident to obtain a building permit and build on his own land. She suggested pushing forward statutory outline plans initiated by the land owners, plans led by residents accompanied by municipal personnel and the Regional Planning Bureau. She stressed the need to promote medium-sized programs that include a relatively small number of land owners, the need to reach agreements with residents, and to work fairly and flexibly (on all sides) to bring about approval of these plans. She believes that one has to plan for a certain degree of mixed-use including retail and employment areas, land allocation for public use and, in particular, create an effective mechanism for approving building permits.
Maliha Zugair, urban planner and architect, researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research
Zugair reviewed the status of housing construction in neighborhoods beyond the security fence, especially in the area of Kufr Aqab in North Jerusalem. The extensive amount of high-rise buildings in the neighborhoods was done without permits and is lacking suitable infrastructure. This building activity is a direct result of the inability of East Jerusalem residents to obtain permits to build within the city. It can be seen as a large-scale answer to the needs of the population, which did not elicit an adequate response from the Israeli authorities. This building activity has created planning chaos that will be extremely hard to put right.
Arch. Ya’ara Rozner-Manor, urban planner in East Jerusalem; The Urban Clinic, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Rozner-Manor concluded the discussion. She described an attempt to try and solve the problem of the lack of a land parcellation policy in East Jerusalem by a process of mutual deliberation in Wadi al-Joz and Isawiya. This can be achieved by creating trust and cooperation between residents, the municipality and the planners. The aim is to perform, together with local residents, a thorough mapping of land ownership, and consider opportunities to reassign and reallocate the land, allocate land for public uses, and examine the economic potential and land development opportunities for the neighborhood and beyond. Such a tolerant process of mapping, combined with a degree of flexibility on the side of the authorities, may lay the ground for a land parcellation agreement and organized planning in all of East Jerusalem.
The discussion was led by Dr. Amnon Ramon, coordinator of the East Jerusalem Forum, the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research. The event was supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.